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Over half of Taiwanese satisfied with its democracy: Pew poll

More than half also say Taiwan’s political system needs major changes or a complete overhaul

A person casting a vote. 

A person casting a vote.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new survey released by Pew Research Center on Thursday (Oct. 21) shows 57 percent of Taiwanese people were satisfied with the country’s democracy, but 56 percent believe their political system needs major changes or a complete overhaul.

Of the 17 countries surveyed, Taiwan ranked eighth in satisfaction with its democratic system, while its desire for political reform matched the overall median of the countries surveyed, according to a Pew report.

"As citizens around the world continue to grapple with a global pandemic and the changes it has brought to their everyday lives, many are also expressing a desire for political change," the research center said in a statement.

The survey covered 17 advanced economies, including the U.S., Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, looking at views of democracy and the desire for political, economic and health care in each, according to a CNA report.

According to the results of the survey, 57 percent of those polled in Taiwan were satisfied with the way democracy was working, yet 56 percent said their political system needs major changes or a complete overhaul.

Several countries showed a higher majority of respondents satisfied with the democratic processes in their democracies, including Singapore at 82 percent, Sweden (79 percent), New Zealand (76 percent), Canada (66 percent), Germany (65 percent), the Netherlands (65 percent), Australia (64 percent) and the United Kingdom (60 percent).

The survey also showed a far higher percentage of people — more than two thirds of respondents — in Italy, Spain, the U.S., South Korea, Greece, France, Belgium and Japan want political change, compared to Taiwan. Pew did not offer an explanation as to why Taiwan's numbers differ from that of the other democracies.

Views on economic reform were roughly split across the 17 countries surveyed, per CNA. A desire for economic reform was strongest among respondents in Italy, Greece and Spain, at 85 percent, 84 percent and 83 percent, respectively.

For Taiwan, only 49 percent of those polled believed economic reform was necessary, while the majority expressed that their health care system does not need to be changed, per CNA.

"Roughly half or more in seven nations think the health care system needs major changes or needs to be completely reformed, and in the U.S. and Greece, roughly three-in-four express this view," the center said.

The Pew survey was carried out between February to May this year. A total of 18,850 adults in the 17 advanced countries participated.